Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Bat bugs or bed bugs?


bugs 1
bugs 1  

bugs 2
bugs 2  
We moved into our apartment in October, 2014.  Apartment and HVAC utility room off balcony were clean.  The beginning of June, 2015 we heard and saw bats flying around and when we checked the utility room, there was bat guano and dead bugs on our furnace/AC unit.  We began seeing the bugs come out of vents and on window sills on the same side of building that utility room is on.  A Wildlife inspection confirmed bats but they only identified bugs as bed bugs.  From doing research I understand that bat bugs resemble a bed bug to the naked eye, but bat bugs have longer hairs on the upper covering of their thorax.  We have checked our bed, couches, etc. and have not found any evidence of bed bugs.  I don’t know what to do to get them to understand and confirm that these bugs are because of the bats.  They want to bring in a bed bug sniffing dog and charge me for extermination of them.  Can you please help me? I live in Lisle Illinois.

Dear Alison - There is no way that I (or anyone else that I know of)Could determine whether you have bed bugs or bat bugs from the images you provided; you need to examine them under at least 10x  magnification. The image at http://tinyurl.com/qg56ar7 shows their differences (bed bug on left, bat bug on right); ignore their body shapes, individuals of both species will vary in shape, depending on their life stage and size of blood meal ingested. Just as an aside, carpet beetles also are seen in your second image - their larvae will feed on accumulations of dead insects as well as detritus in bird nests/bat colonies.
  As for control, you first need to do something about the bats. As they are protected, you can't do anything that might harm them; you only can exclude them (you might find useful guidance on this subject at http://tinyurl.com/odhd8ly). Once this is done, bear in mind that these bugs can live a long time without feeding, so more than one treatment might be necessary to achieve control - see http://tinyurl.com/nu7cupj for detailed information.

Hope this helps,

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad


Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.


21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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